Is the Language of Informed Consent Templates for Dental Treatment Patient Friendly?

Is the Language of Informed Consent Templates for Dental Treatment Patient Friendly?
Viktoriia Kostenko, Olena Bieliaieva, Iryna Solohor
Eurasian Conference on Language & Social Sciences, 2-3 February 2021; Gjakova, Kosovo pp 324-328
The patient’s voluntary informed consent for medical intervention has been known as an integral part of the modern system of moral, ethical and legal regulation of healthcare provision. Grammar complexity of formal language and terminology differences between healthcare providers and patients may cause communication problems and adversely affect patient access to health information, leading to poor satisfaction for both parties. There have been few reports clarifying the selection of the language means in order to facilitate patients’ complete and unhindered understanding of
the information in informed consent template for dental treatment and to influence them in making the right decision. The aim of the study is to investigate grammar characteristics (sentence structure, voice, the tense and aspect of finite verb phrases) and to analyze the findings from functional perspective and communicative purposes. This empirical research of qualitative descriptive type was based on the corpus of 50 informed consent templates for dental treatment used by the USA healthcare settings authorized to provide oral and dental services Critical discourse analysis is a main analytic technique employed in the study. The main idea behind the informed consent is that individuals having obtained a sufficient amount of special information and clearly understood it should be able to make their own knowledgeable and voluntary decisions concerning the exposure to potentially dangerous dental procedures. Text structuring, headings, metatextual devices in the templates demonstrate doctor’s responsibility for understanding text by the patients, i.e. the respectful and careful attitude to the clients. The average length of the texts and the average length of the sentences are also taken into account, whereas the documents are designed within the patient-centred approach and in patient-friendly manner. Though the texts of informed consent templates are relatively short, they abound in composite sentences: the complex sentences make up 69.3 %, the complex-compound sentences make up to 7.14%. Simple sentences, 21.5%, rank the second position. Composite sentences as well as numerous simple sentences with extended homogenous parts are exploited in the informed consent templates in order to minimize misunderstanding in the interpretation medical information, but, on the other hand, they can to interfere with quick and complete comprehension of the dependency relations among the ideas expressed in the sentences. Sentences in the active voice exceed those in passive voice that makes the text more readable and understandable.

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